Jewish people across GCC to join together for first selichot gathering in decades

Published: August 17, 2021

Jewish residents of the six GCC countries are set to join together for the first-of-its-kind selichot gathering in the Middle East, the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC) has announced.

The selichot prayers are said nightly throughout the Hebrew month of Elul and are meant to ask God for forgiveness. They are said in the lead-up to the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

On Sunday August 22, AGJC will live stream an authentic Sephardic service to members of the Jewish faith in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The AGJC is a network of the Jewish communities from the GCC countries who are developing Jewish life in the region, Rabbi Dr Elie Abadie, the association’s spiritual leader, told Al Arabiya English.

“As we usher in the Hebrew month of Elul and prepare for the upcoming High Holidays, we gather as a community to recite the Selichot prayers,” said Rabbi Abadie. “It was very important to us to host a genuine Sephardic service as we celebrate the rejuvenation of Jewish life in the region through the formation of the AGJC.”

On August 13, 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced that they would be establishing relations, this was followed by Bahrain and Israel on September 11, 2020.

Days later, on September 15th, the three countries signed the Abraham Accords Declaration which stated their recognition of “the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom.”

AGJC President Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo said: “We created the AGJC with the goal of enhancing Jewish life in the region and as we approach our first Rosh Hashana as a united Jewish community, we wanted to create a meaningful Selichot event which will do just that.”

“We are heading back to our roots with this program – an authentic Sephardic service from one of the notable locations for Jewish life in the region.”

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